Tarnished track

Airbuspilot

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I was interested that the track cleaning loco did not do the trick... often people try to run it too fast and the track is not clean enough to pick up the power the loco needs.

Heavily oxidized track needs it to move very slow, but when I ran mine on DC, it drew more current than my MRC6200 (which was supposedly 60 VA) could put out, and it could not spin the cleaning wheels fast enough either.

With heavily oxidized track, the cleaner must be set to move very slow such that the rail is pretty much perfect the first pass. I have seen many in use, and most people are too impatient to run it slow enough to clean the rails enough for it to move on it's own.

I gave up on track cleaning and went stainless steel and never looked back.

Greg
Thanks Greg you make a good point, the loco did a good job, at medium speed, with track that had been in use and was not too badly tarnished. I should have thought about using a very slow speed on the rest of the track.
Robin
 

Greg Elmassian

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For it to work, clearly the track needs to be clean to power the unit.

Add to the situation that the current needs are higher than a "normal" loco, and the vibration of the cleaning action does not help track pickup, the cleanliness of the rail as it advances is more "critical / sensitive".

I once tried an experiment to go fast, to keep momentum up, but overall the cleaning time increased for completion of the job.

Then I turned it way down to ensure that the rail was fully polished, which was agonizingly slow, and the total time for completion was actually less, but the owner came by and went nuts on how slow it was going. (Of course, the reason my friend and I were out there helping him was indeed his impatience, and trying to run trains when maintenance was not fully performed).

Initially also he had his DCC voltage too low for effective cleaning. When used correctly the loco does a great job, unattended, it's not cheap and you wear out the cleaning wheels and "flanges" more quickly than you want, but absolutely the easiest way.

Greg
 

Airbuspilot

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For it to work, clearly the track needs to be clean to power the unit.

Add to the situation that the current needs are higher than a "normal" loco, and the vibration of the cleaning action does not help track pickup, the cleanliness of the rail as it advances is more "critical / sensitive".

I once tried an experiment to go fast, to keep momentum up, but overall the cleaning time increased for completion of the job.

Then I turned it way down to ensure that the rail was fully polished, which was agonizingly slow, and the total time for completion was actually less, but the owner came by and went nuts on how slow it was going. (Of course, the reason my friend and I were out there helping him was indeed his impatience, and trying to run trains when maintenance was not fully performed).

Initially also he had his DCC voltage too low for effective cleaning. When used correctly the loco does a great job, unattended, it's not cheap and you wear out the cleaning wheels and "flanges" more quickly than you want, but absolutely the easiest way.

Greg
Lots of excellent advice from my question, thanks to you all.
My next try will be on Monday morning as this week end is a holiday. I have a pole with a universal joint and the LGB block plus a bottle of Meths but I will start with the Loco on very slow speed first.
Robin
 

Billywhiskers

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I am helping a friend with his large LGB garden railway, the track hasn’t been used for around 9 months and is badly tarnished. We have run his track cleaner but it stalls repeatedly so I guess mechanical cleaning on hands and knees is the inevitable solution. I use meths on my own N gauge track but this is removing dirt rather than corrosion. We obviously need to check rail joiners etc but assuming we get back to a running railway is there anything that we can do to delay if not stop further corrosion? I have seen comments on other threads talking about WD-40 and 3 in 1?
Robin
 

Dan

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I use the LGB track cleaning loco and found it runs much better when I attach a trailing car with power pickups wired to the track cleaner.
I upgraded to DCC and found the track cleaner runs even better as I can run the loco very slow while the engine has max power to the cleaner motor. Note that I do have 24 volts DCC to the track as I use the Zimo MX10 which has a 30 volt input.
 

dunnyrail

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The LGB Track Cleaner loco is a great tool, however as stated it does need a starting point where it can work. If you really do want to use the beast for most of your layout then a short section of track (say 2-3 feet) should be cleaned to perfection with an LGB cleaning block then the the beast started up and run slowly will do its job but may need 2 or 3 passes to get the track good and clean if it is well tarnished.
 

maxi-model

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I once owned an LGB track cleaning loco a few years ago. sadly a bit of a white elephant in my opinion. I bought it 2nd hand and had it converted from its original MTS spec to DC only operation by my local LGB dealer, who also tested it too. Due to lack of use it was sold on within 4 years.

The issues that resulted in its minimal use that led me to sell it on - 1) It was irritatingly noisy when running its cleaning wheels at any speed. see video clip below. I have neighbours on 3 sides of my garden, so I like to keep good relations going. Cleaning 35 yards of track takes a long time at those lower speeds of travel, out of necessity. It's not the gentle hum of that ubiquitous summer sound in the village - the lawn mower :D 2) My line is mostly in shade so finding a time of day when the rail head was sufficiently dry, so the loco would clean effectively, was nigh on impossible. 3) The time it took, when trying to remove a closed season's worth of "tarnish" (Cleaner wheels on high, loco on low speed), was really tedious. In any mode of operation in never worked for me. so I adopted the rail head cleaning regime I noted in post # 16. It was simply that much quicker and more effective.

Postscript - The loco was sold for a profit (I know that is a dirty word around here :D ) and I got myself a decent clean 2nd hand Bachmann Heisler, with a lot of change left over. The final upshot after 18 years of track fed power - I'm migrating to full battery/RC operation. I already had pneumatic operation of my switches and signals for some years (thank you Jon for your advise there) as water ingress issues there had resulted in a switch from electric operation. I think it's called evolution ;) Max

Not my loco but a clip lifted off YouTube - see what I mean about the noise ?

 

dunnyrail

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I once owned an LGB track cleaning loco a few years ago. sadly a bit of a white elephant in my opinion. I bought it 2nd hand and had it converted from its original MTS spec to DC only operation by my local LGB dealer, who also tested it too. Due to lack of use it was sold on within 4 years.

The issues that resulted in its minimal use that led me to sell it on - 1) It was irritatingly noisy when running its cleaning wheels at any speed. see video clip below. I have neighbours on 3 sides of my garden, so I like to keep good relations going. Cleaning 35 yards of track takes a long time at those lower speeds of travel, out of necessity. It's not the gentle hum of that ubiquitous summer sound in the village - the lawn mower :D 2) My line is mostly in shade so finding a time of day when the rail head was sufficiently dry, so the loco would clean effectively, was nigh on impossible. 3) The time it took, when trying to remove a closed season's worth of "tarnish" (Cleaner wheels on high, loco on low speed), was really tedious. In any mode of operation in never worked for me. so I adopted the rail head cleaning regime I noted in post # 16. It was simply that much quicker and more effective.

Postscript - The loco was sold for a profit (I know that is a dirty word around here :D ) and I got myself a decent clean 2nd hand Bachmann Heisler, with a lot of change left over. The final upshot after 18 years of track fed power - I'm migrating to full battery/RC operation. I already had pneumatic operation of my switches and signals for some years (thank you Jon for your advise there) as water ingress issues there had resulted in a switch from electric operation. I think it's called evolution ;) Max

Not my loco but a clip lifted off YouTube - see what I mean about the noise ?

There is no doubting that they are indeed noisy beasts. Glad you are still happy with the pneumatic system.
 

Paul M

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Do they actually grind the tarnish off the track, or is more of a sanding?
 

maxi-model

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Do they actually grind the tarnish off the track, or is more of a sanding?
The loco is fitted with a pair of abrasive wheels that counter rotate to the direction of the driving wheels. The material used on its cleaning wheels is similar to others used to clean the track , track rubber block, L 50050 springy leg thingy and abrasive block on the end of a stick. It abrades the rail head's surface with a fine abrasive material. Max
 

Greg Elmassian

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The last few posts just underscore the success of the track cleaning loco depends on the unit moving slow enough to clean the rail completely before advancing, and also the need for full power to the cleaning motor, which is impossible under DC operation.

Yes it is noisy, yes it is slow. It can work well for people if allowed to.

Comparing it to manual cleaning, if you think about it, the amount of pressure and force a human applies can never be applied by a model that cannot exert the same downwards force (the weight of your body).

So LGB traded speed for brute force. I had a guy who set it on the loco and went shopping. He was happy when he came back.

If you cannot wait, or cannot tolerate the noise, that is understandable, but I would not fault the loco, but the selection of the loco when there are these criteria.

Greg
 

Paul M

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The loco is fitted with a pair of abrasive wheels that counter rotate to the direction of the driving wheels. The material used on its cleaning wheels is similar to others used to clean the track , track rubber block, L 50050 springy leg thingy and abrasive block on the end of a stick. It abrades the rail head's surface with a fine abrasive material. Max
If its abrasive, how long does the track last before its worn down?
 

PhilP

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If its abrasive, how long does the track last before its worn down?
Much of the track I have stashed away, is probably 30+ years old, and much of it will have been cleaned by a cleaning loco..
You don't use them either all the time, or every day, so not a lot different to using the cleaning block.

However, if you don't keep an eye on it, and it catches on you something, it will (slowly) grind holows in the railhead.

PhilP
 

Paul M

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However, if you don't keep an eye on it, and it catches on you something, it will (slowly) grind holows in the railhead
That's what I'd be concerned about. I think there was 1:1 scale pictures of that somewhere on the forum
 

dunnyrail

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I doubt that LGB track will ever be worn down to a y noticeable effect by the LGb cleaner in normal service. However if you let it run on the spot for an hour or so then you will get a dip in the rails. But who would be daft enough to do that?
 

JimmyB

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Much of the track I have stashed away, is probably 30+ years old, and much of it will have been cleaned by a cleaning loco..
You don't use them either all the time, or every day, so not a lot different to using the cleaning block.

However, if you don't keep an eye on it, and it catches on you something, it will (slowly) grind holows in the railhead.

PhilP
I had a rail powered Stainz, that became caught on something that stopped it moving forward, but with power to the wheels (one on each side) the wheels continued to rotate, it was only unattended for about 5 minutes whilst I "nipped" in the house, but enough time to cause a noticeable hollow in the track, and these wheels are not abrasive.
 

maxi-model

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I think that the case for use of an LGB track cleaning loco it is really a matter of "Horses for Courses". The product in itself is just one neat solution to an age old problem for maintaining a clean rail head to help ensure a decent power supply to track equipment that take it from the rails. But there are certain circumstances where it is not the all encompassing panacea it is often purported to be, mostly practical in nature. There will be others where it ticks all the boxes, but for some it does not. Every line, and its operators, will have their quirks that either mitigate for or against such a device being a desirable one. It's a great little product if it fits your needs.

Greg, you intimated that in DC mode, rather that DCC, that the LGB track cleaner loco might not be able to offer its full benefits. How is this so ? In my case I had (still have) a thumping Crest 55465, set to 22 v/13 amp output, feeding my track through a 10 amp, late model, Train Engineer 5470 combo. Max
 

Zerogee

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........... Greg, you intimated that in DC mode, rather that DCC, that the LGB track cleaner loco might not be able to offer its full benefits. How is this so ? In my case I had (still have) a thumping Crest 55465, set to 22 v/13 amp output, feeding my track through a 10 amp, late model, Train Engineer 5470 combo. Max


I'm sure Greg will correct me if I'm wrong, but I had assumed that it's because on DC you can't run the track cleaner slowly AND have the cleaning motor running full speed, because both are only getting the voltage that is being delivered to the track; on DCC, with the constant full voltage available on the track, you can have the loco driving motor running as slow as you like while the cleaning wheel motor runs at full blast...?

Jon.
 

maxi-model

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I'm sure Greg will correct me if I'm wrong, but I had assumed that it's because on DC you can't run the track cleaner slowly AND have the cleaning motor running full speed, because both are only getting the voltage that is being delivered to the track; on DCC, with the constant full voltage available on the track, you can have the loco driving motor running as slow as you like while the cleaning wheel motor runs at full blast...?

Jon.
Lifted from a manual manual posted on the Trainli site https://www.trainli.com/USER-GUIDE-PDF/New LGB Engines/lgb-21670-user-guide.pdf - Track Cleaning Analog operation (conventional transformer and throttle): • Set your layout speed control to zero. • Place the 21670 on the track. • Set the power control switch to Position 2 (see Operating Modes). • Set the 21670 on-board speed control to a middle position (Fig. 3). • Set your layout speed control to the highest forward position. The 21670 will move forward with a medium speed, and the cleaning wheels will clean the rails. Hint: • The speed of the track cleaning loco is adjusted with the on-board speed control. The layout speed control (Fig. 3) always should be set to the highest speed, so the cleaning wheels are turning at maximum speed.

The speed control knob on the loco controls the actual loco speed. The current from the track dictates the speed of the abrasive wheels. So set your throttle on full power to drive the cleaning wheels at their maximum rotational speed and use the knob on top of the dummy exhaust tower to control its forward progress.... I think. Max